Can CBD Help Relieve Toothache?
There is little research into the applications of cannabinoids in dentistry, but as studies continue to unveil CBD’s effects on the body, it’s worth taking a look at how it may impact dental health conditions like toothache.
There is a growing body of preclinical and early clinical research exploring the impact of CBD on numerous bodily functions and conditions. With specific studies citing the anti-inflammatory , antioxidant, and bone-stimulating  potential of cannabinoids, might tooth and gum conditions like toothache be addressed by the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids? Given that there is no clinical evidence to draw upon, we must dig a little deeper into associated research.
WHY DO WE GET A TOOTHACHE?
Most toothaches happen because of an infection. The inner part of our teeth contains nerves and blood vessels that make us feel heat, cold, touch, and pain too. This inner part is named dentine, and just like any other part of our body, it hurts when infected.
The clear, sticky film left on your teeth by the food you eat, particularly by starch and sugar, starts up a bacteria farm, which spreads to both the visible and invisible parts of your teeth. Infrequent or improper brushing helps the farm thrive. In the next step, cavities can form and grow deeper into your tooth, causing an infection, a toothache, and eventually the destruction of your tooth. Before that, if the bacteria and their acidic environment are able to reach the dentine, infections can enter the bloodstream, causing swelling, pressure on the nerves, and consequently pain.
Another reason for toothaches is periodontal disease and its related painful abscesses, which affect the gums and bones where the teeth are grafted, resulting in a hollow space between each tooth that becomes deeper over time. Crooked, overlapping, rotated teeth can also cause pain, together with hormonal changes, stress, or a poor diet.
Whatever the cause of pain might be, it is always recommended to visit a medical professional if you have a long-lasting or a severe toothache. Moreover, a professional check-up and cleaning every 6 months or 1 year is always advisable as a method of prevention for any dental disease.
CBD AND OUR TEETH
We know that a combination of analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory agents are needed to kill toothaches. Effective anti-inflammatory action is even more desirable than a mere analgesic effect. A bunch of prescription pills and topicals are available for this purpose, some of which come with severe side effects, but what about a natural remedy?
Our body creates inflammation for immune purposes, usually to fight bacteria, a viral attack, or trauma. Although in most cases an active inflammatory response is beneficial, there is such a thing as too much. When inflammation persists, despite the threat passing, the body becomes vulnerable to the onset of several damaging health conditions. Here is where topical antibacterial, antiseptic, and analgesic action might be effective.
In this arena, a 2008 study  published in the Journal of Natural Products cites CBD, among other cannabinoids, as “show[ing] potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” bacteria.
A 2009 study  , performed at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Uberaba, Brazil, looked into CBD for an experimental model of periodontitis in rats. Periodontitis is a painful infection that causes the bone and soft tissue that supports the teeth to degrade. Thirty days after rat subjects were administered CBD, researchers assessed tissue samples to find that CBD inhibited proinflammatory cytokine production and decreased bone resorption by inhibiting RANK/RANKL proteins.
SHOULD YOU USE CBD FOR TOOTHACHE?
Oral consumption of CBD is considered generally safe according to the World Health Organisation. Given the compound’s apparent lack of serious side effects, there’s no research that suggests applying CBD directly to the teeth and gums when you have a toothache will do you any harm. The problem is, there also isn’t enough research to say that it will do you much good either.
Different types of CBD products are processed by the body at varying rates according to their respective bioavailability. Oral sprays, oils, and tinctures can be applied right to the affected area, using your (thoroughly cleansed) finger to gently spread the solution on the tooth and nearby gums. You can also empty a CBD capsule and apply the gel to the affected area. Alternatively, you could try a tea bag with high-CBD flowers.
Sometimes, it might be better to not even touch the affected or painful area. CBD capsules, oils, and edibles can be consumed to avoid making direct contact, but these methods take longer to take effect than sublingual administration. Cannabis-infused toothpastes are starting to enter the market, and, of course, you can create your own CBD-rich formula by adding a drop of your preferred CBD oil to your regular toothpaste. Furthermore, you can even prepare a homemade toothpaste with ingredients like baking soda, peppermint oil, coconut oil, and CBD oil.
CBD oils, tinctures, and capsules may soon be used as analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory agents in dentistry.
CBD and Dental Pain
CBD is being used more and more for different kinds of pain. For example, we hear of it being used to address pain from cancer, but not often for less serious issues like toothaches. Is CBD effective for dental pain?
To understand the link between CBD and dental pain, we need to first examine what causes toothaches. Then we’ll be able to look at how CBD may be able to help.
What Causes Dental Pain?
Most dental pain is caused by pulpitis, or an infection inside the tooth itself. The middle of the tooth is soft and pulpy, which is where the nerves and blood vessels are found. The nerves enable us to feel temperature and touch through our teeth. When the pulp is infected or damaged, we feel pain.
Infections, such as abscesses, are probably the biggest causes of toothaches. Abscesses affect both the gums and surrounding bones and can cause a lot of damage if left untreated.
We may also feel pain in a tooth that’s being referred from another area of the body, such as the sinuses or ears. So, dental pain may be caused by several factors:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Tooth impaction
- Referred pain
CBD and Dental Pain
Can CBD help with any of this? Research has shown that compounds found in cannabis, like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), help with inflammation and are antioxidants. These properties allow them to help ease many kinds of pain, and there’s no reason why dental pain should be any different. Besides its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is also antibacterial and antiseptic.
Although there’s a lot of new research happening around CBD, not much has specifically focused on dentistry. However, reports based on personal experience seem to be mostly positive. Some people claim that CBD oil offered considerable relief from their dental pain, while others say it didn’t seem to make a difference one way or another.
How Does CBD Help With Dental Pain?
CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, which are found mainly in the central nervous system. Some of these are linked to the immune system, and CBD helps lower its inflammatory response. This reduction of inflammation helps decrease the tooth pain.
However, It’s important to see a dentist who can treat the cause of the pain. Simply using CBD for your dental pain will not actually cure the problem.
CBD and Dental Pain Research
There has been very little research done specifically on CBD for dental pain. One study from the University of Uberaba in Brazil looked at induced periodontitis in rats and showed how CBD affects weak dental bones. When analyzing the alveolar bone loss, the researchers confirmed that the rats that had received CBD oil had less bone loss and fewer biochemical inflammatory agents.
Of course, it’s going to take a lot more research than just one study of rats before dental professionals accept and use CBD widely.
However, in the meantime, there’s been a lot of research done on CBD for relieving the pain and inflammation caused by other ailments, and there’s little evidence so far of harmful effects.
How to Use CBD for Dental Pain
Topical application of CBD seems to bring the most relief for other forms of pain, so it seems like this would be the case with dental pain, too.
Apply the CBD oil directly to the painful area in the mouth. Whether you use an oral spray, oil, or tincture, topical application like this is safe and fast-acting. Capsules are another option.
- Oil: CBD is dissolved in an inert oil and is applied using a dropper or a spray nozzle. You can use a dropper to add a drop of CBD oil to your toothbrush with your regular toothpaste. Alternatively, you can apply a drop to your finger and rub it directly onto the painful area and surrounding gums.
- Tincture: CBD is dissolved in alcohol. Tinctures are often put into a spray bottle, making them easy to apply.
- Infused Baking Soda: Put a little baking soda onto your damp toothbrush and add a drop of CBD oil. Use this to brush your teeth, concentrating particularly on the affected area.
- Capsule: Swallowing CBD capsules will not bring the immediate relief that direct application does, but they can be useful if the tooth is too sensitive to touch.
Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth?
One of the known side effects of CBD ingestion is a dry mouth. This is more likely when inhaling or swallowing CBD. The reason for this side effect is that CBD reacts with the cannabinoid receptors found in the salivary glands, causing saliva excretion to slow down. Obviously, this is an undesirable side effect, because we need saliva to help keep our teeth clean and prevent cavity formation.
The simple solution to dry mouth is to drink more water than usual, or use a mouthwash specifically manufactured to increase saliva production. Chewing gum containing xylitol is helpful as well. If you’re having a problem with a dry mouth, avoid alcohol, tea, and coffee, as these drinks will make the problem worse.
CBD for Dentist-Related Anxiety
Many people dislike going to the dentist, and some may become extremely anxious about it. Some dentists recommend that such patients take CBD oil before their visit, not only to calm the patient’s nervousness, but also speed up the healing process after a dental procedure. Continuing to take it after the visit will relieve the pain and inflammation caused by dental work. An added bonus is that CBD oil has very few side effects, unlike other anti-inflammatories and painkillers on the market.
It’s always best to check with your dentist before taking CBD oil or indeed any self-administered treatments to help with dental pain. Remember that while CBD may help relieve the symptoms of your pain, it will not fix the underlying problem. You may have been able to help your dental pain and inflammation at home, but only your dentist can diagnose and cure the underlying issue, such as a cavity.
Could taking CBD oil help that toothache feel better? Here’s what you should know about CBD and dental pain.